300 police officers undergo training in child-friendly policing

Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr James Oppong-Boanuh

Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr James Oppong-Boanuh

A total of 300 police officers drawn from the Greater Accra Region are undergoing a Child Friendly Policing (CFP) training.

The training forms part of efforts in building the capacity of officers to enable them defend, protect and enforce the rights of children in the country.

The exercise which is the second phase of the training began with the first 100 out of the expected 300 participants from Accra.

The first phase of the whole exercise which ended in May this year had about 6,000 officers from across the country.

Speaking at the orientation ceremony for the officers, the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mr James Oppong-Boanuh said 10,000 officers would receive training by the end of the programme.

He said children were vulnerable since they were unable to make informed decisions, hence, the need to be protected and assisted even when their actions were against the law.

Mr Oppong-Boanuh said it was the sole responsibility of law enforcers to protect the rights of all children in the country in spite of their nationality.

“As police officers, the onus lies on us to ensure that the rights of all children in the country, whether Ghanaians or foreigners, are adequately protected and not abused”, he said.

He said there was the need for police to refrain from the act of disclosing information provided by children without their consent in order to build trust to foster cordial relationship between the police and children.

“It is our duty as police officers to prevent and detect all forms of abuse against our children as a means to protect them and to collaborate with other stakeholders to provide a safe haven for the vulnerable, especially the physically challenged”, he emphasised.

The United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Ghana, Anne-Claire Dufay said the CFP was a major step in strengthening child protection systems in the country.

According to her, children should be reintegrated into the society hence the need to treat them appropriately with dignity and compassion without discriminating among them, adding that, “integrating child friendly policing into the Ghana Police Service (GPS) is intended to protect and support children in the country”.

Mrs Dufay said understanding children’s right required more than knowledge saying that, “it requires a specific skill such as developmentally-appropriate interviewing techniques, child friendly investigation practices and a sound understanding of how to work with social welfare and other related sectors”.

She indicated that, Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) were developed as part of the initiative to demonstrate how police should handle children who come into conflict with the law as part of the initiative.

“The SoPs have been integrated into the curriculum and the service instructions have been amended. It would ensure the sustainable institutionalisation of these efforts, and contribute to strengthening child protection systems”, she added.

She therefore commended the Ghana Police Service and the Ministry for the Interior for the initiative as well as the Government of Canada for their immense support.

By Abeduwaa Lucy Appiah

 

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